I’ve had toothache on and off now for nearly three months. It began in the summer, coming on quite quickly. Rebecca, my dentist, has been brilliant. I’ve had a series of appointments to get various dental issues resolved. The last one was yesterday. We hope this has cracked it (not literally! – although one tooth did have to be split as it was removed – but that’s probably too much information…) I don’t really like the fact that it’s taken quite a time to be pain-free (although it’s been easier to live with knowing that progress is being made) but hopefully the issues have been resolved and I’ll do my best to look after my teeth even better. But to get to this place has been slow. It’s reminded me that some things just take time.

I’m reading through Genesis at the moment and am presently in the story of Joseph. God gave him prophetic dreams about his future at the age of 17 which were only fulfilled at the age of 30. That’s 13 years! Some things just take time.

Many of the letters in the New Testament of the bible are written to communities undergoing hardship and suffering. They’re encouraged to endure, inspired by the example of Jesus. Many today find inspiration in the call to ‘consider him (Christ) who endured such opposition… so that you will not grow weary or lose heart’ (Hebrews 12:3). Some things just take time.

We have a tendency when all is not well to want to rush to a conclusion but if we’re not careful the solution will not be the best. That doesn’t mean that a quick-fix solution is never right. Occasionally that’s just what’s needed. Neither does it mean we should do nothing or procrastinate – it’s good to plan and prepare and pray! But some things just take time. We need to be patient.

Patience seems to be in short supply today but it’s desperately needed in families, businesses, churches, politics – in fact in most areas of life. This has always been the case. The 17th Century scientist Isaac Newton knew this to be true when he looked back on his life and said ‘If I have done the public any service it is due to my patient thought.’ We live in a culture that demands immediate results. Patience is underrated but much needed. We can pray for patience. It particularly grows as we live in co-operation with the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:22) but in the end patience needs to be lived and worked at and wrestled with in the real issues of life. Most of us need patience for something today. Because some things just take time.